Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn

mark_twain_cave I listened to Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, on audiobook.  Part of it was really funny, and the rest I didn’t really get.  Some of the time, I didn’t get what was going on.

mark_twain_cave8Like, I didn’t really understand how Becky and Tom suddenly walked into the cave, and got lost.

In this book, Tom Sawyer, a young conman, who wishes to be a pirate or an outlaw robber when he grows up, searches for a treasure of great value (lots of money.)

I highly recommend this book to people who want a funny read.

I visited the Mark Twain Cave, the same one where Tom and Becky were lost.  At the beginning, this cave has glimmering rocks, then later on, I found something that looked like a crystal.  Later on, I found out that this was the purest form of limestone, but it was so pretty that I kept it.

mississippi_river2 We listened to another book by Mark Twain called The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  In this book, a boy named Huck Finn must face his blood curdling drunk of a father, and the rest of the world.  When I say the rest of the world, I mean a large portion of the world, the Mississippi River. 

Huck Finn doesn’t have the best life, but he tries to help a Black slave named Jim from slavery.  They must face the horrors of the Mississippi River such as the monstrous rapids, and the large rocks, and the big steamers. 

At the end, the runaway slave, Jim, was attempted to be freed by Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.  I can’t tell you everything, but I can say that the main idea of the story is that slavery is wrong, which I totally agree with.

If you want a good adventure raft story, this is the book to read.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review of Wright 3

In the book, The Wright 3 by Blue Balliet, three kids who call themselves the Wright 3, try to save Robie House (designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright) from demolition.

I think the author tries to ask the question of whether the Robie House is a piece of art, or just a house.  I believe that the Robie House is just a pretty house, not a work of art. 

You want to know why I think that?  It’s because there is one thing that defines a house.  Is it a building that is lived in, or was lived in?  Yes, Robie House was lived in, so it is a house, not a work of art.

I know it goes against the spirit of it all, but I’m a big picture kind of guy.

The story was a good mystery, but I didn’t completely enjoy it because it’s not my kind of book.  It was a suspenseful mystery that left you wondering what would happen next.  I recommend it for people who like a thrilling mystery.

Related Post:

Review of Yolonda’s Genius


Yolonda’s Genius, by Carol Fenner, is about a girl named Yolanda who has a brother who supposedly is a genius on the harmonica, but no one knows this except her. Yolanda must get her brother noticed by everyone else.

Throughout the book, Yolanda learns what it means to be a genius. It means to be smart, but also to be able to take old material and turn into something new. In a way, Yolanda is also a genius because of the way she encourages her brother to play the harmonica well again, and how she gets him noticed.

It wasn't my favorite book, but it might be good for anyone who likes realistic fiction.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review of the Dinosaur Resource Center

trex I visited an amazing dinosaur museum that had a whole bunch of really cool dinosaurs.  They had:

  • a T-Rex
  • a Pteradon
  • a Plesiasaur
  • and a whole lot more.

dinosaur_resource_centerWe had a really good tour guide, who is pretty much a real Paleontologist, named Stephen.  He is in college, studying to be a paleontologist, and he works for the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center.  He’s gone on 12 digs in only two years.  That’s a lot!

Stephen encouraged me to be a paleontologist.  He said it was really fun, and not to worry about making money.  As long as you enjoy what you you’re doing, you can find a way to make enough money.  He’s my role model!

In the gift shop, they had real ammonites, and casts of lots of other dinosaur bones.  The Dinosaur Resource Center makes casts of dinosaur bones for museums around the world.

They even made made casts for the movie Sea Monters!

No museum in the world could top this one, they had everything, or a whole lot.  If you’re in Colorado, that’s the place to go.

Have a funasouraus day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sickening Prairie Dog Town


Today, we visited the Prairie Dog Town in Oakley, Kansas , or should I say, Animal Torture Ground.  There were several animals, treated like slaves, or at least that’s the kind of leisurely home they got.  You know how wolves need a lot of land to roam around in?  Well, there were two wolves stuck in a cement grounded, hole in roof so that rain can get in, teeny cage.


In the gift shop, they even made fun of the animals.  They cut a cow’s butt off and glued googly eyes to each cheek.  And, they had rattlesnake heads displayed everywhere.  The person running the place was no better.  He was a freaky looking guy who acted as if the animals just meant money.  He even gave us dog biscuits to feed the prairie dogs, and I do mean dog biscuits. 


Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Architect’s Dream

robiehouse I figured out what I want to be when I grow up.  I want to be an architect.  First of all, I want to be an architect because I really like to design buildings and build them on Roblox.  Second of all, I want to be an architect because I have all these great ideas for new houses of the future.  I even have a cool design for a really strong bridge.  I had a really good idea for an eco-friendly city, but Kayla teased and criticized me about it.  So, I gave that idea up, but I still want to be an architect.

We went to see the Robie House that was in Blue Balliett’s Wright 3.  The home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the same architect who designed the Guggenheim, the round building.  I don’t usually enjoy visiting buildings, but this one had a very interesting design.  It was interesting because it had all these art glass windows, and when you’re in the area that leads to the front door, it feels like you’re already inside.  Plus, when you’re inside, it feels like you’re still outside.  It’s an inside-out house.

Another thing we did today was we went to the Chicago Blues Festival.  It wasn’t my ideal time for a Saturday.  There are a few reasons why I didn’t really enjoy it that much.  One was that it had just rained so everything was soaked.  Although I guess I should be happy that it wasn’t still raining.  Another reason was that all the singers were yelling, and it was so loud, I was afraid that I would lose my hearing before I even reached my 20s.

Wrap it all up, and it was just an ok Saturday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Beginning Of A Cross-Country Trip


Today is the first day of a trip across the country named the United States of America.  So far, on my trip, not much has happened yet.  Supplies are running low, and I don’t know if I can survive the whole summer, although we are getting back in time for my birthday at the end of August.

Tomorrow, we are going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I’ll be sure not to tell you anything about that.  And the day after that, we are going to be in Chicago, famous for all its famous things.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What I Do During Tests


When I do math and stuff, I can't concentrate, so I doodle, next time I'll draw a poodle.  I drew a flying crocodile, then I drew a person strapped to a rocket with a time bomb.  That is why the person is unhappy.

Mom's Note - Alex sketched this while taking the CAT-E Test, a standardized test that can be used to satisfy New York's Homeschool Requirements.  Do you think he was not too happy to take this test?  I asked him that question, but Roblox beckoned.  He didn't want to waste his precious screen time on silly questions.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Report on Viva Piñata Pocket Paradise DS

Up there is an amazing video but it isn't  for Gameboy DS. This amazing 3d game teaches how grass vs. water can can change so much. In the game, you grow your own garden plus you get to attract your very own piñata.  I’m a level 4 gardener.  Does any one know how to get a jack lantern or how to get bread because I’m stuck?  Can you garden your way to the top? Good luck. I had to do a lot of research during school to maKe this post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Review of A Writer's Notebook

writer_notebook A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking The Writer Within You by Ralph Fletcher is an exquisite book that gives you ideas for and helps you understand the writer's notebook, a writer's best friend.

Right when you look at the cover, you know that it's going to be fun, with the literal pictures of a girl capturing the past and the picture of an arrow shooting a heart that says, "If you don't write your heart will burst."

In the book, the author tells you useful information like how to read back your notes, how to pick the right notebook, and how to pour your heart into your book.  The seeds that you plant in your notebook, may grow to be a great forest of ideas.

For example, I was waiting for the UPS or Fedex guy to bring my Viva Piñata DS game.  I waited such a long time, one day to be exact, so this is what came out of it into my writer's notebook:

I felt like a kernel of popcorn in the oven.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Then I saw the Fedex truck.

I felt like I was going to explode,

I jumped up and down, and I grabbed the package, tore it open.

But, it wasn't there.

I felt the shell come back on.

I felt like I fell when I almost made it to the top of a long climb.

I think maybe in the future, I'll look back on this in my writer's notebook, and think about how much of a big deal I made over a little game. 

My mother read The Writer's Notebook to me as part of my homeschooling for writing.  She would read a chapter, like the one called Seed Ideas, and then I would go and write something.  She would seriously hope that I would write something inspired by the book, but I'd go on writing something completely different like Superclean Versus The Grungenator.

When we read the chapter called Memories, Mom made me go around the house and yard collecting artifacts to put in my writer's notebook.  I ended up putting in some of Leperdy's shed skin but I wasn't too happy putting in a Spectrobes card.  Now, when I look back on it, I really wish I had kept the card instead of sticking it in there for all that time.  Someday, if I don't take it out before then, I might appreciate all this.

I recommend this book for people who are thinking about starting a writer's notebook or people who want to become better writers.  I became a better writer in the two years that we've been reading this book.  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Cowardly_lion2 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is a an outstanding book where a girl, named Dorothy, gets whisked away by a tornado to the Wonderful World of Oz.

In this story, Dorothy has to talk to a talking Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and a Tin Woodman.  She must find the Wizard of Oz to send her back home, but when she gets to Oz, she finds that he is an imposter.  After that, Dorothy goes to Glinda, the good witch, who gives her a pair of flying shoes which Dorothy uses to fly home.

If you think about it, isn't Dorothy like the Greek God, Hermes, the messenger of the gods?  They both have flying shoes.  Hermes took people to the land of the dead, and Dorothy leads the tin woodman, lion, and the scarecrow to the City of Emeralds to find Oz.  Could the Tin Woodman be one of Hephaestus' automatons?  Could the Cowardly Lion be like the Nemean Lion, a vicious monster?  Ha, Ha.  Was this book inspired by Greek Mythology? 

(Answer the poll on the right sidebar, or post a comment to give me your opinion.)

The moral of the story seems to be that there is no place like home.  I think that because even when Dorothy had a whole kingdom at her fingertips, she still missed home.

This book also has flabbergasting ***chuckles*** illustrations.  They are inked drawings, with amazing effects.  For example, in the illustration at the beginning of Chapter 4 - The Road through the Forest, you can almost see into the forest with the 3D effect.oz

I recommend this book to anybody who wants a fantasy adventure story.  It's a thrill ride all the way through.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Review of Leon And The Champion Chip

Leon and the Champion Chip by Allen Kurzweil is an awesome book about a kid named Leon who made a spitting image of a bully.  A spitting image is a doll look-like that looks like a person that you are trying to control.  The spitting image allows you to control the person. Leon enters a chip identifying tournament to get the money for the last part of the spitting image, and that is how he ends up earning the greatest chip award, the champion chip. 

Before he earned the potato chip award, Leon spent a whole year learning about potato chips in science class with his science teacher, Mr. Sparks.

The author's intent seems to be that you can find science anywhere, even in potatoes. The reason that I think that this is his intent, is that he said so in an interview with his son on a podcast posted on his website.  I also think that because in the book, Leon's science teacher asks the students what their passions are.  For every one of the kids' passions, he describes the science in it.  Like lever work and center of gravity stuff in a wrestling move.  That's basic simple machine stuff.

This is a really crunchy read, that makes you crave potato chips.  It has really nice pencil sketched illustrations.  This book also describes a whole bunch of science experiments, like the Extermitator, a high-powered blaster gun, and the potato clock.  The potato clock uses spit for its power.  Did you know that spit conducts energy?  That's the kind of useful science knowledge that you'll learn from this book.

If you want to learn more facts about this book, and other fun things about the author, then click on this tasty link to the author's website.

Here is a photo from Allen Kurzweil's website: